All 18 Targaryen monarchs in Game of Thrones history, ranked worst to best

House of the Dragon. Photograph by Ollie Upton / HBO
House of the Dragon. Photograph by Ollie Upton / HBO /
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Over a 283-year period, 17 kings (and one queen) of Targaryen descent sat on the Iron Throne and ruled Westeros. During that time, the Targaryens went unyielding mighty dragon lords to weak rulers in peril of displacement, with just a handful of their number left. The dynasty’s decline began in earnest during the Dance of the Dragons, a civil war we will see play out in future seasons of House of the Dragon.

But there’s more to the story than that. Some kings were tyrants of the kind Robert Baratheon would eventually overthrow. Others tried to make the realm a better place. Let’s take a look at each, starting with the worst and working our way up to the best.

Caution: There will be SPOILERS for House of the Dragon below, but we’ll warn you before the worst of them.

18. Aegon the Unworthy

Aegon IV was the son of King Viserys II, and is considered one of the worst kings to ever sit the Iron Throne, earning him the nickname “the Unworthy.” I see many similarities between Aegon IV and Baron Harkonnen from Dune. Both are corrupt, gluttonous, lustful and indulge every desire they have no matter the cost to others. Some believe that Aegon poisoned his father Viserys II to fast track his ascension as king. He also stacked his court with yes men and women willing to do anything for his favor.

Aegon’s most notable feat as king was the copious amount of bastards he fathered; at least 13 with various women. The most famous of the bastards were Daemon Waters, Aegor Rivers (Bittersteel), Brynden Rivers (Bloodraven) and Shiera Seastar, all of whom would bring bloodshed to Westeros. Aegon IV hated his sister-wife Naerys and his trueborn son Daeron, favoring his bastards instead. His favorite among them being Daemon Waters, a talented warrior and knight that was everything Aegon wanted his son Daeron to be. Daeron was more of a bookish man who enjoyed reading books to waging war.

Aegon knighted Daemon when he was just 12 years old. He gave him the family sword Blackfyre, which Daemon also took as his last name. In 184 AC, after 12 years of glutton and misrule, Aegon IV died. On his deathbed, Aegon legitimized all of his bastards, putting them in line to inherit the Iron Throne. Although his true born son Daeron succeeded him, Daemon Blackfyre challenged him in an act of open rebellion against the throne.

This would become known as the first Blackfyre rebellion. It would not be the last. Aegon IV’s actions wound up dragging the country through five more Blackfyre rebellions over the next hundred years.